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Saving Radio: Frank Ski Doing “Black Radio,” Great Segment (audio)

Love it, Frank Ski is one of my favorite people in the industry. Here he does a captivating segment on three racist...

Edwin Hawkins Dies

Radio Facts: Pleasanton, CA – Edwin Hawkins, the four-time Grammy® Award-winning leader of The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ 1969 million-seller, “Oh Happy Day,” died January 15th at his home in the Bay area, after a bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 74 years old. Gospel singer and four-time Grammy Award winner Edwin Hawkins died Monday at the age of 74.“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Edwin ...
sam putney

Former KKDA DJ ROBBED with Baseball Bat for Spike Lee’s Phone Number


I never met Sam Putney when he worked in LA radio but I've always heard great things about him.

Pictured: Sam Putney standing in front of his... well... MANSION sans his iPhone

Radio Facts: Originally posted March 13, 2009 – I'm not gonna lie, outside of doing a national show, the only Black station in the NATION I would even consider working for at this point is KKDA. I hear it's the best paying Black station in the country. Looks like a few thugs may have gotten word of the pay scale as well.

The Dallas Ft Worth news is reporting that local KKDA radio personality Sam Putney was robbed of his iPod early Thursday by a bat-wielding man who was quickly arrested, authorities said.

The incident outside Putney's Grand Prairie station KKDA and gave Skip Cheatham and Da Playground plenty to talk about afterward on KKDA-FM (104.5) "We'll talk about it some more tomorrow," Putney said in an interview after the broadcast. Michael Blackwell, 21, of Flower Mound faces a robbery charge in the attack on Putney, who wasn't injured.

Putney, 60, said police told him that Blackwell had intended to steal his cellphone because the suspect thought it would have a number for film director Spike Lee.

Blackwell had written something he wanted Lee to read, Putney said police told him. "He was going to get somebody's cellphone that had Spike Lee's phone number because he had to talk to Spike Lee," Putney said. "Is that crazy, or is that crazy?" Putney said he got out of his pickup about 4:40 a.m. in the radio station's parking lot in the 600 block of Northwest Sixth Street. Then he saw his attacker.

Great Way to Start the Morning Radio Show

"A huge guy, man, 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4," Putney said. "He had a mask on, and he had a bat, and he was running so fast at me I just knew he was going to take my head off." Putney, whose briefcase was slung over his shoulder, said he managed to dodge the bat.

"He swung, and I ducked and moved to the side," Putney said. "He fell and hit the ground, and when he got up, my briefcase had come off my shoulder. Putney said he hit Blackwell in the chest with his keys and started shouting. Meanwhile, several things, including his iPhone, had spilled from his briefcase. (Hit him with his Keys?) That must have rendered him catatonic. He must have been out for hours.

The man grabbed the iPhone and fled in a car. After officers arrived, the suspect passed by again, police said. They pulled him over and arrested him without incident, said Detective John Brimmer, spokesman for Grand Prairie police.

Blackwell was being held in the Grand Prairie Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. "I feel so bad for that kid," Putney said. "Are times that tough? They must be."

Radio, Record Stores and Record Labels: A Marriage Divorced by Technology


This past weekend, I went and purchased a bunch of Vinyl records and I was reminded of "The record store experience" that I once cherished.

A Quick Look Back

Originally posted May 30, 2011

Radio Facts - One of the fondest memories I have as a kid growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., ended up being my career choice as an adult. As of this writing, for more than 20 years now. My parents both knew how much I LOVED going to the record store. My father, I could tell, was not impressed with the experience but he got a kick of the fact that I got such a kick out of it but my mother was/is a music lover too so it was more of an adventure with her.

Record Labels, Radio Stations and Retail worked together hand in hand as a great well-oiled music machine to lure the public to love music and the experience of buying it. Blacks were very dependent on "Black" (now called "Urban") radio stations for music and a whole lot more ... and black radio came through.


Audrey's and Dells was THE record store in Buffalo, NY and Doris Records was another popular store. The first thing I remember was the various weekly colored lists from WBLK or WUFO on the glass desk at the record store. WBLK had a chosen single that they called the BLK Pick (Blick Pick) of the week and that was usually a huge hit.

The Record Store was my "candy store" and I was blown away by the huge plethora of new 45s behind the counter on the wall in alphabetical order by the artist. We ALWAYS had to use those Top 40 sheets for reference for records we could not remember the names of. Of course, this was a time when the big Rs worked in unison (Retail, Record Labels and Radio Stations). Record stores were my first experience with incense.

They always had it burning when you walked in. The whole record store experience was the closest I could get to the music industry at the time and I loved it. I also knew I would eventually make a connection with it one day. I distinctly remember Motown almost always released several singles at the same time and they were always hits.

It was nothing for me to use up my Buy 5, Get 1 Free by getting The Jackson 5, Temptations, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Supremes, The Four Tops and/or Marvin Gaye. I was always fascinated, like everyone else with Motown artists. Detroit was right up the river and it was always the best music.


In those days, even though the local stations had a Top 40 list, the music selections on the station were still ENDLESS, unless a record was a huge hit but it would still take a couple of hours before you heard it again, the DJs were beyond entertaining, very personable, passionate and they were hustlers and huge local stars. Being on the air was just a mere platform for them but an important one as they worked their own outside deals and they made MONEY. It was the very reason I wanted to get into radio.

When a concert came to town it was always a popular DJ hosting the show (back then DJs were able to negotiate their own deals, program directors were not taken as seriously as they are today (if there was even one at appointed at the station) EVERYBODY in the neighborhood would play the radio on their stereos while they chilled around the house, had company over or were on the porch sitting in a lawn chair with a beer in their hands after dinner.

There were also conscience community-oriented talk shows on many Black stations like WBLK's Express Yourself (instead of the Quiet Storm) which gave the community an opportunity to talk about important issues.

It has truly been YEARS since I have seen or heard anyone playing a radio station in their home or apartment (sans Sirius and XM which I do play myself). While the advent of technology plays a large part in that, I have to admit, I am surprised that so many commercial stations continue to do so well in this current radio climate.


For as long as I can remember, I have also been fascinated with the mechanics of a record player and for a while, I was a collector of record players as an adult. I still can't resist going to Goodwill every now and then to buy one that someone gave to them especially one from the 60s. The absolute BEST period for home stereos. At present, I don't have a record player because I sold the one I had before I moved from Atlanta but I plan to buy one soon.

Thank God there still a HUGE record store in Hollywood (Amoeba Music) that I can go to for a TON of vintage albums for 99 cents each.. a lot of them NEVER PLAYED. Sometimes I go with several adult friends and we can spend hours cracking up while looking at various album covers and reminiscing. Who can deny the great experience of flipping through albums in a bin to look at all the creative artwork and to flip it over to see what cuts are on the album and the credits?

As time went on the 8 track died (which I never liked anyway) then the cassette (which I also never liked) then vinyl (what the hell is wrong with the labels, I thought) CDs have never done it for me. There was a time while working in the industry, I had over 10,000 full-length CDs but they took something away from the music experience for me. Now that CDs are phasing out the mp3 is, without question, making and saving the labels a ton of money but now music can only be heard not seen, touched or held.

There is speculation that a whole new generation of young music lovers are developing a fascination with vinyl. This is literally, no pun intended, music to my ears.

As the internet continues to make us less and less one-on-one in our daily experiences and more isolated in our homes and apartments, certain outlets have to remain intact in order for us to have a reason to leave the house at all.

Today, record labels complain about Black radio's 30 song playlists with little or no room for the introduction of new artists and retail is virtually gone. While I am still not totally familiar with the Pandora experience, they appear to be making quite a splash.

Radio seems less than concerned about internet technology and many stations don't even bother to update their websites. Could this all change in an instant if someone comes up with a stellar idea for internet radio? We'll know by next year when Internet radio will have an opportunity to gain mobile audiences when they are placed in more and more cars.

In the meantime, whatever technology has to offer in the near future, I would love for the younger generation or Black radio Radio DJs to experience what it's like to run their own show and market themselves.

I don't hear the passion and the energy I once heard and I know the reason is the overall homogenization of Black radio. Finally, I would love for the new generation of record buyers to have an opportunity to have more visual and public record store experience a few times.

I don't expect the industry to ever go back to being what it was in the 60s and 70s but I am concerned that today's radio is resting too hard on its laurels and it may be taken by an unpleasant and possibly unrecoverable surprise.

Farewell Sidney Wood (Kenny Diamond)


Saturday while taking a long drive up the coast, I was talking to a longtime radio friend in Atlanta and out of the blue and completely off the subject, I asked her if she knew Sidney Wood or the name we knew him better by Kenny Diamond. She said the name sounded familiar and she looked him up and said: "Oh yeah I remember him." We then continued the conversation about something else.

Sunday morning I woke up to a message from her stating that Sidney Wood (Kenny Diamond) died this past week. We were both dumbfounded that I brought up his name out of the blue and then this morning she heard from one of her radio contacts that he had died.

I started in radio with Kenny at WIGO in Atlanta in the mid-80s. We were all kids, hungry and starving ( LITERALLY just like everybody else who worked at WIGO) WIGO was truly a test of how bad you wanted to work in radio because it was by far in my 30-year history the first and the worst radio station I have ever worked for and quite often Alum from the station joke about how horrible it was working for the late Dorothy Brunson.

Kenny came to the station from Kiss 104, A super hot station in the market in the 80s that went head to head with V103. Kenny came to WIGO from Kiss and shortly thereafter I went to work for Kiss 104. "I had to fire Kenny because he kept getting chicken grease on the vinyl. He was great on the air but he kept eating in the booth." Mitch Faulker told me as we laughed this weekend.

The late Byron Pitts hired the late Nate Quick and myself at WIGO and I'm not sure if he also hired Kenny but we all worked together and I remember being blown away by Kenny's amazing talent. Kenny not only had the voice he had the confidence and celebrity looks that could have catapulted him into superstardom.

I never wanted radio as much as many people that I know did but Kenny was absolutely MEANT to work in radio. His style and delivery were second to none and he was phenomenal on the air.

He became an even bigger radio star when he went to V103 doing afternoon drive and then he became the music director. At that time he was also working with another radio great from my hometown, the late Keith Pollard who was an AM superstar in the 70s and 80s but he was not a good fit for an FM transition. Like many other AM radio DJs, They didn't sound as good on FM.

Kenny got into an unfortunate legal situation at V that derailed the rest of his promising career. As if that wasn't enough he crossed the street into another investigation simultaneously that sealed his fate.

He disappeared for a while then did what he did best. He reinvented himself. He ran for office and then when that failed he went to work for Creflo Dollar. He was the voice of the church for many years and he also did some side jobs there.

In recent years Kenny was able to get on WAOK with something he had never done Talk radio and he did a great job with that even though he had no experience as a talk show host. He was always willing to give something a try. I never met anyone more ambitious than Kenny Diamond.

At last, he ended up doing sales for Cumulus when WAOK was over and that was his last industry gig to my knowledge. Ironically, he reached out to me within the last few months to do some writing for Radio Facts and to catch up. I never got the chance to respond.

Rest in Power Kenny. Your talent and ambition were undeniable and you were the greatest at whatever you chose to do. Say hello for the rest of the industry to Byron Pitts, Keith Pollard, Nate Quick, and yes even Dorothy Brunson.